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Misplaced & Dangling Modifiers

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jenna stuffco

on 19 July 2013

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Transcript of Misplaced & Dangling Modifiers

Misplaced & Dangling Modifiers
- Describes or limits other words, phrases or clauses.
- Can be an adjective, an adverb, or a phrase or clause acting as an adjective or adverb
- Adds information to another element in the sentence
Misplaced Modifiers
- When the modifier is not positioned next to the object that it is supposed to be modifying.
- Confuses the meaning of the sentence.
Dangling Modifiers
Definition: A dangling modifier is usually a phrase or an elliptical clause -- a dependent clause whose subject and verb are implied rather than expressed -- that functions as an adjective but does not modify any specific word in the sentence, or (worse) modifies the wrong word.
Squinting Modifiers
: Squinting modifiers are an ambiguously placed modifier that can modify either the word before or it or after it. In other words, it is "
" in both directions at the same time.

Split Infinitives
Example 1.
Nicholas Cugnot built the first self-propelled vehicle, determined to travel without horses.
Pop Quiz!
Determined to travel without horses, Nicolas Cugnot built the first self-propelled vehicle.
Split Infinitive - when a modifier is placed between '
' and the '
ex 1. The class hopes


their essays so that they can go outside early and enjoy the sun.
ex 2. The class hopes
to finish
their essays
so that they can go outside early and enjoy the sun.

Although both these examples sound correct, ex 2 is more correct because it does not split the infinitive '
to finish
Example 2.
Example 3.
Defining your terms clearly strengthens your argument.
In this example, the word "
" is a squinting modifier. Does defining "
clearly strengthen
" or does "
defining clearly
" strengthen?
Find The Squinting Modifier?
1) Cycling up hills quickly strengthens your quadriceps.
Defining your terms
will clearly
strengthen your argument.
A clear definition
of your terms strengthens your argument.

2) Taking a moment to think clearly improves your chances.
Which Way Is Right?
Traditionally split infinitives never occurred, but with modern changes to our language they are becoming more acceptable. When writing a formal paper try to refrain from using split infinitives. Although a split infinitive may sound better, in a formal paper it can be marked as a grammatical error. When it comes to informal writing, simply choose based on the way it sounds.

Ex. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise. Its five-year mission:


where no man has gone before.
Accepted Split Infinitive
Infinitive - In the English language the infinitive is a series of words, in most cases the word ‘
’ followed by a ‘

George Bernard Shaw
- Julie
failed every test last semester.
- Julie failed
every test last semester.
He bought a doll for his sister they call Molly.
He bought a doll
they call
Molly for his sister
How to Correct them
Method #1 Ask who?
#2 Create a complete introductory sentence
3# Combine the Phrases into 1
Correct: Having arrived late for practice, the team captain needed a written excuse.
Incorrect: Having arrived late for practice, a written excuse was needed.
How to Correct them
Correct: Because Maria did not know his name, it was difficult to introduce him.
Incorrect: Without knowing his name, it was difficult to introduce him.
How to Correct them
Correct: He improved his results by doing the experiment again.
Incorrect: To improve his results, the experiment was done again.
Correct: Having finished the assignment, Jill turned on the TV.
Incorrect: Having finished the assignment, the TV was turned on.
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